Bergheim is an ancient, fortified and well-preserved village. In the west, Porte Haute guards the village, as it has done since 1300 A.D. The gate forms a magnificant entrance to the town and a starting point for the main street.
Just outside the gate, there is a giant lime tree of the same age as Porte Haut. For over 700 years, it has flowered each spring. Due to its age, it is now supported by a fair amount of concrete. Just as Eguisheim, Bergheim has been awarded the maximum 4 flowers of Villes et Villages Fleuris de France.
North of the town, on Grasberg, the German Soldatfriedenhof asks us to remember that both sides suffered heavy, and tragic losses during World War II.
Bergheim boasts two Grands Crus, Altenberg and Kanzlerberg. The former is one of the best and well known, while Kanzlerberg is the smallest (3.8 ha) and least understood. Only two growers own land on Kanzlerberg, Lorentz and Spielmann.
In 2005, Jean-Michel Deiss defeated INAO. For years, he has produced mixed variety wines from a number of Grands Crus and finally his practice became partially legal. According to Décret nr 2005-269 from March 21 2005, an Grand cru Altenberg can now be produced according to two alternatives:
- Gewurztraminer, Pinor gris or Riesling (not Muscat)
- A mix with the following proportions:
- 50-70% Riesling
- 10-25% Gewurztraminer
- 10-25% Pinot gris
- max 10% of Chasselas, Muscat, Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Blanc, if these were planted before March 26 2005
Bergheim has several nice hotels and at least two superior, charming and reasonable priced restaurants.
Producers to visit
Marcel Deiss et Fils, 15 Route du Vin, +33 (0)389 73 63 37
Jean-Michel Deiss is, together with Zind-Humbrecht, Weinbach, Trimbach and Hugel one of the most well-known names in Alsace. Deiss emphasizes terroir rather than variety and makes very rich, potent, fresh and exciting wines. All wines from village level (at €12 2005), the Lieux-dits Burg, Engelgarten, Grasberg and others, to the Grands Crus Schoenenbourg, Mambourg and Altenberg (price tags around €50) have a lot of personality. Situated a stones throw from Porte Haute.
Sylvie Spielmann, 2 route de Thannenkirch, +33 (0)389 73 35 95
Very ambitious and interesting viticultrice, making dry , not overly rich wines from Grands Crus Altenberg (Gewurztraminer) and Kanzlerberg (Riesling and Gewurztraminer) and Lieux-dits Blosenberg and Engelgarten. The dry style suits Pinot Planc, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer particulary well. Sylvie Spielmann practices organic farming, and allows malo-lactic fermentation. Situated on the road to Thannenkirch.
Gustave Lorentz, 35 Grand rue, +33 (0)389 73 22 22
Lorentz has always been known for the Gewurztraminer, but I find the Rieslings particulary successful. Riesling Altenberg ages with great finess, developing a refined aroma of oranges with age.
Georges et Claude Freyburger,
Route du Vin, +33 (0)389 73 63 78
A fairly large estate with 12 ha on Altenberg and Grasberg (limestone), Goldesch (calcareous clay) and Rotenberg (calcareous marl).
Louis Freyburger et Fils,
1, rue du Maire Witzig, +33 (0)389 73 63 82
Established producer of quality wines form Altenberg and Lieux-dits Burg, Goldesch, Pflaenzer, Reichenberg and Schofweg.
Emile et Yvette Helbeisen, 3 Route du Vin, +33 (0)389 73 63 81
The Halbheisen family came to Bergheim in 1737. Farms vines on Altenberg and Lieux-dits Brandhurst, Rotenberg and Grasberg. Offers rooms and apartments at hotel "Cour-Bailli".